The Rapidian

The Silver Spork rides into town

Local food truck feature
Underwriting support from:
The Silver Spork, a dining venue for locavores on the move

The Silver Spork, a dining venue for locavores on the move /Carol Lautenbach

If you’ve ever eaten lunch at a school, you know what a spork is.  If you’ve ever wanted to try lunch from a food truck, you need to find out where The Silver Spork will be.  This chariot of local cuisine is a new kid on the block.  Before becoming a mobile restaurant, The Silver Spork was a plain white disaster relief vehicle living in Jackson, Mississippi.  In April, under the competent, careful hands of owner/operator Molly Clauhs, the truck headed north to Michigan, an adopted home for both truck and driver.

Clauhs, from upstate New York, researched the food truck market thoroughly before setting her GPS on Grand Rapids, a place she describes as “approachable.”  Cost, a good network of local farms, others who shared her interest in sustainable business practices and an outdoor friendliness were deciding factors.  However, what it really came down to was a hunch that Grand Rapids was the right place. 

She knew that she “wanted to be somewhere where they don’t have it all figured out.” 

Clauhs’ normal circuit includes the many Farmers Markets in the area: Ada on Tuesdays, Holland on Saturdays, and Wealthy Street on Thursdays, where I caught up with her.  While she uses sustainable, compostable materials for most purposes, she did say that the nine-mile-per-gallon fuel habit that the truck has is difficult.  However, she doesn’t travel that far afield most weeks, and the fields come to her, in a way, through her bulk buying at the FarmLink Co-op on Godfrey Street.  Every Wednesday she picks up her order, food that is fresh from the farm to her.  And a benefit of staking out The Spork at market venues is that a ready source of all-things-fresh is available if she runs out of key ingredients.

Her best day, so far, included about 75 meals.  Sandwiches made of whitefish, pulled pork, hummus, and other local ingredients and a variety of salads provide plenty of variety for every taste, and her 4-person staff keeps up with customer orders.  Mint iced tea is a house specialty, a popular item during the heat wave that started about the time The Silver Spork parked at its first venue on June 18.

Clauhs made an intentional choice to be here in the West Michigan neck of the American woods. 

Her hunch has paid off: “I can’t imagine a better place.”

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Love that word choice! And I'm so excited that we now have some competition on the food truck scene. Sporks—who can resist (another place entirely, but they make a good point: Tere's a spork within all of us! :P)?

Carol, this turned out great.  I can't wait to see what you come out with next!